The status of psychology as understood by sixteenth-century scholastics
The problems of the true nature and status of psychology (scientia de anima) among sciences were much debated by sixteenth-century philosophers. Chapter I.1 of Aristotle's De anima provided main material here, and different positions were mostly expressed in commentaries to it. This chapter discusses a number of sixteenth-century scholastic interpretations, in particular two great Jesuit works: the scholarly Coimbra commentary and Suárez's more original De anima. Aristotle himself posed several questions which required elaboration. One of these concerned the subject of psychology. Because of Averroism and Alexandrism, this issue was alive during the whole century. Another important problem was whether psychology belongs among natural sciences or to metaphysics. This generated a complicated discussion. Moreover, there was enquiry about what was the correct place of psychology among biosciences, how useful it was and how we shouldevaluate the worth and glory of it. A final puzzle concerned the explanation of its difficulty. The tentative conclusion of our survey is that these philosophers of the "second scholasticism" had a rather conscious notion of their task in this connection, though their methods were often tangled. Some of their observations, especially those related to the understanding of mental existence, can even have permanent relevance outside the strictly Aristotelian framework.
Aho, T. (2009)., The status of psychology as understood by sixteenth-century scholastics, in S. Heinämaa & M. Reuter (eds.), Psychology and philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 47-66.
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